17/12/2015 12:18 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

How India Can Seize A $37 Billion Opportunity

Much has been made of Laura McLellan's prediction that by 2017 CMOs will spend more on tech than CIOs. Less has been made of another McLellan prediction that customer experience will be the battleground marketeers fight over. Current trends suggest that both of McLellan's predictions will soon be a reality, and India is perfectly positioned to take advantage of them. International brands should look to put customer experience first by harnessing India's scale and experience of distributed work teams to manage their marketing services. A recent NASSCOM report predicted this could be a $37 billion opportunity for India.

Thanks to Y2K and an explosion in enterprise technology, India has become the go-to location for distributed work teams that can develop and maintain corporate IT infrastructure. The international CIO was the hero of the first boom, their IT budgets fuelled the growth and honed the process over the past couple of decades.

India has become the go-to location for distributed work teams that can develop and maintain corporate IT infrastructure.

The CMO, and her/his marketing budget, is going to be the hero of this second boom. Digital disruption has placed more power in the hands of the consumers -- they now decide when and how they receive a brand message. It's becoming increasingly hard for CMOs to find ways to be part of consumers' lives.

Many CMOs have not yet harnessed the power of technology to do this, be it through the medium of web, mobile, wearables etc. Yet, now more than ever they need to create compelling brand experiences for their consumers by focusing on customer experience. This requires a shift not only in the ways of working and with who they work, but also how they work.

There is a compelling case for creative and technology services need to be provided by a single partner. Co-location and teams that are experienced working together can be agile enough to seamlessly meet client demands. India is the expert in handling distributed work structures and a proven safe pair of hands that can inexpensively scaled to demand.

As brands make this transition to become more relevant in a digital world, a whole new set of digital tools move on to the CMOs' radar. Search marketing, mobile, social media marketing and online campaigns each come with a plethora of software, data points and analytics. Distributed work teams for technology can help CMOs manage all these marketing services efficiently.

Indian teams will need to be able to service the full spectrum from design work to campaign production, tracking and optimisation. SapientNitro has been leveraging India-based distributed marketing service teams for five years and seen a 50% growth in these teams. Clearly, the market appetite has already arrived, and is far from satiated. India's major IT companies are climbing onto the bandwagon. Creative studios are being developed across the country to drive a more integrated set-up across technology and creative.

Decades of focusing on engineering talent will now need to be matched by a broader range of skills... [especially] capabilities steeped in design, content and marketing....

This will soon trigger a high demand on talent-creation hubs to scale up without compromising on the quality. Decades of focusing on engineering talent will now need to be matched by a broader range of skills. Capabilities steeped in design, content and marketing will be highly sought after. Currently, our strongest design schools can't meet local demand (we add less than 1000 designers to the system through the top schools), add in requests from international markets and the gap is huge, and the same is true of all the other capabilities as well.

The opportunity is real and India is best placed to take advantage. But there are some hurdles that will need to be jumped before India becomes the destination of choice for marketing services. One important fence will the credibility of brand India in this space. A relationship with the CMO is yet to be forged and accumulating a talent pool with an agile method of working across creative and technology in an integrated manner is going to be crucial to winning a CMOs trust. This will be the key to how quickly, and to what scale, India claims its stake of the $37 billion up for grabs.

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